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Can You Grow Succulents In Water Beads

One of the hottest trends for indoor or patio plants is glass beads. They add a decorative flair to any garden setup, with pops of color here and there that can accentuate plants or any outdoor decor. Several plants do well when grown with glass beads, but how do succulents do. 

You can grow succulents in water beads, though you’ll also need to add some soil Succulents need proper drainage, so it’s recommended to set up vases or plots correctly. Succulents will grow best when planted with layers, the topmost being a mixture of glass beads, pebbles, and rocks. 

Below, we’ll provide more information about this widespread trend, sharing some tips on using water beads with succulents and providing suggestions on how to pot and grow them. 

What Are Water Beads Anyway?

Water beads are a small and colorful additive to vases and plant pots. Made from a water-absorbent polymer, these beads are used to soak up water and swelling when they contact it. Adding these to plant vases, they work to release water slowly over time, making it beneficial for plants like succulents that only need small amounts of water. 

Are Water Beads Toxic to Plants 

Glass beads are made from a polymer that is non-toxic and therefore not harmful to plants. The materials are not dangerous, though the beads themselves can be dangerous only if they prevent drainage. If beads are packed too close, and the contents below are not appropriately layered, succulents can suffer from damage if left that way too long. 

How To Hydrate Water Beads 

When you first purchase water beads, they are small and dry. Before adding them to pots, you’ll first have to hydrate them, which you can do in just a few simple steps. 

Step 1. Warm Up Water

Beads absorb water better when it’s warm. While cold water will suffice, absorption will take a bit longer. Warm up water in the microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds before pouring it over beads. You don’t want to add boiling water, but you do want it to be warmer than room temperature. 

Step 2. Add Beads to Shallow Bowl

The next thing you’ll need to do is add beads to a shallow bowl. Do this, and then cover them with at least a few inches of warm water, ensuring they are all fully submerged. Each bead will soak up water, so be sure to put enough to give each bead a chance to get nice and plump. 

Step 3. Let Them Soak 

Beads will start to plump after a few hours submerged in water, but it’s recommended to leave them soaking overnight for best results. This will give each bead a chance to soak up as much water as it can. 

Step 4. Drain Excess Water 

Before adding them to your vase or pot, you will first need to drain the excess water. Remove beads and pour out extra water, and then your beads are ready for use. 

How To Grow Succulents in Water Beads 

Glass beads can be used on their own or combined with other materials, including soil. Below, we’ll provide steps for layering, which is optimal for succulents. This is the best for succulents that have already developed roots. For succulents without a strong root system, it’s recommended to let them grow beforehand. 

To grow your succulents, here’s what you’ll need to do:

#1. Remove Plant + Soil 

If you’ve had your succulent previously planted, you’ll first need to remove it from its pot. Do so gently, mindful of the roots and ensuring you don’t tear them. Shake off the excess dirt and rinse them off, laying them out to dry while you do the rest of the prep work. 

#2. Add Potting Soil 

The next thing you want to do is add potting soil. There are specific mixtures made for succulents that will make your selection easier. Succulents prefer soils with a lot of sand and a bit of pumice or perlite. This promotes drainage and will keep soils from becoming oversaturated. Too much water can cause roots to rot, and too little will cause your succulent to wilt. It’s best to find a happy medium with watering, which water beads can help with. 

Add soil loosely and only fill it up half of the way, topping it off once your succulent is added. 

#3. Add Your Succulent

With soil loosely packed, it’s time to place your succulent in. Ensure that the roots have enough space to move and grow and that the soil is loosely packed. Top off the vase or pot with extra soil, filling it up until your pot is filled. 

#4. Add Hydrated Water Beads

For succulents, it’s best to add water beads on top of the soil. Other plants will grow better with water beads at the bottom, but succulents are more susceptible to rot. Adding hydrated water beads at the top will keep the soil moist without the risk of overwatering. It will also add a pop of color to vases or pots for an instantly more stylish look. 

How Long Do Water Beads Last? 

Water beads tend to release water slowly. Once they’re dried up, you can rehydrate them again or simply add a bit of water to your vase or pot. Because they’re made from sturdy material and are resistant to water damage, water beads are sure to last up to 5 years without needing to be replaced. 

There are different kinds and brands considered higher-end and are meant to last longer. However, you can expect to get years of use to provide your succulents with water on average. 

Final Thoughts

Water beads are beautiful, especially when paired with a unique succulent. Apart from adding a fun touch to your vases and pots, water beads also provide succulents with the water that they need. When using water beads with succulents, it’s recommended to add them to the top layer with the soil underneath. This will give them access to nutrients and moisture without putting them at risk for overwatering.